Materials maker Solvay Group has partnered with three international medal winners and record holding athletes for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Brussels-based Solvay will work with Ambra Sabatini, Kgothatso Montjane, and Trenten Merrill to promote values embodied by the athletes such as performance, dedication, perseverance and winning drive, through its Solvay 4 Sport initiative, officials said in a news release. The games are set for Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, 2024.
Sabatini of Italy is the fastest paralympic sprinter in the world. In 2019, she survived a car accident that resulted in the amputation of her left leg. Sabatini now holds the Paralympic record for completing the 100 meter sprint in 14.11 seconds, set at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Her goal for the Paris 2024 Paralympics is to complete that event in under 14 seconds.
"For me, the word resilience has a precise value," she said. "It means rising from a moment of discouragement and finding a reason to move forward."
Merrill is an American and holds the 2021 U.S. long jump record. At age 14, he was hit by a car, resulting in his right foot being amputated. Merrill held onto his childhood dream to become a professional athlete and shortly after the accident, was competing in volleyball, mixed martial arts and motocross.
He made his first Paralympic team in 2016 and broke the American record for long jump that same year. He has set the record twice more in 2018 and 2021.
"When I was in the hospital, I still had hope that I could be an athlete again," he said. "When I received my prosthetic, that was one of the turning moments. I knew I could get through it."
Montjane of South Africa is Africa's most successful tennis player. She was born with a congenital disorder, and at age 12, her left leg was amputated below the knee. On the tennis court, Montjane currently holds 29 singles titles, and is the First Black South African woman to ever play at the Wimbledon championships.
"No worthwhile journey is without its challenges," she said. "It's the rough road that ends in greatness."
The three athletes "are role models on and off the field and court, an inspiration for everyone and the demonstration that nothing is impossible," said Nathalie van Ypersele, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Solvay.
"We believe opportunity, possibility and greatness are achievable when we collectively recognize, respect and celebrate that which makes each of us unique, yet intrinsically human," she added.
Officials said that Solvay's partnership with the athletes helps to reinforce the Group's diversity, equity and inclusion program, which aims to create equal opportunities regardless backgrounds, ages, genders, races, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and identities and abilities.
Solvay employs more than 23,000 worldwide and posted sales of $11 billion in 2021. In March, the firm announced plans to split itself into two public companies, including one making specialty materials that would include plastics and composites.